Calls to restore historic MV Naomh Eanna which is capsized in Grand Canal Dock

By Fiona Frawley

January 26, 2023 at 10:59am


Built in the 1950s, the ship was the main mode of transport to and from the Aran Islands for over two decades and also featured in the 1996 film Michael Collins.

If you've walked past the 'grave dock' where the historic MV Naomh Eanna sits, you may have noticed the graffiti'd plea to 'Save Our Ship' which adorns its side. This is part of a long-standing campaign to restore ferry, a once vital resource for the Aran Islands and a huge part of Irish maritime history.

Irish artist and derelict building enthusiast Nathan Wheeler has been documenting the ships journey from proud vessel to 'slipping into its grave'.

Built in Dublin's Liffey Dockyard from 1956 to 1958, the MV Naomh Eanna was commissioned to replace the ageing Dun Aengus for the Aran Island Ferry service. She was one of the last major ships to be built in the Republic of Ireland, and was the main mode of transport between Galway and the Aran Islands from the 1960s until the 1980s.


The ship was moved to Grand Canal Dock in 1989 and between then and 2014 served a number of functions, including acting as a surf shop and featuring in Michael Collins, but during this time her hull was degrading and repairs were sparse.

There have been a number of calls and campaigns to save the derelict MV Naomh Eanna over the years but as it stands the ship lays in the graving dock, 'out of sight out of mind'.

In a Twitter thread, Wheeler has urged for Ireland not to abandon our history, and has said that the state the ship is in is a symptom of a larger problem of dereliction in this country.

To me, this is the face of dereliction in Ireland, and it’s a much bigger issue.... We see buildings being abandoned all the time, and we ignore it. And now we see a massive ship being abandoned.


It’s just such a juxtaposition: right down there in the middle of the ‘Silicon Docks’, you’ve got Irish maritime history just rotting away and it’s normalised.

No-one knew anything about it until the whole thing fell over. It’s wild when you think about it.

We mustn’t leave our history as abandoned rusting hulks, because if we do, there won’t be anything left.

The full thread is available HERE.
Header image via Twitter/craftynathan